Your business is beginning to suffer as the economy slows down. Your costs are going up and your sales are going down. You don’t say anything to your employees because you think:
a) It’s none of their business
b) You don’t want to worry them
c) It’s your problem, not theirs, or
d) All of the above.
Guess what? Your employees know that sales are down. They have probably guessed if they don’t know for sure that costs are up. As the warden said in the 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”
Failing to communicate with your employees in times of troubles is like pouring gasoline on a fire. You’re only going to make the situation worse, not better. Rumors are like a fire. Absence of effective communication from management is the gasoline.
Create An Internal Communication Plan
Several years ago my organization went through a merger. One of the first things senior management did was to implement an internal communications plan that would be proactive in not only making announcements, but in controlling rumors. They arranged it so that people could assess the truthfulness of rumors. They were prompt in addressing them through the use of a regularly scheduled e-newsletter.
Even a small business can benefit from open communications. If you’re the manager or owner, make sure that your employees are comfortable in approaching you and other key managers. Nip false rumors in the bud—quickly.
Seek Your Employees’ Advice
Better yet, lighten the load on your shoulders by bringing your employees into the big picture. Ask them for ideas on cutting costs and improving sales.
If you don’t communicate effectively, the rumors are going to get out of hand. And rumors can become so outrageously wrong and yet be believed. The last thing you want is to lose experienced employees during a downturn because rumors said you would instigate layoffs when in fact you were not even considering them.
Failure to keep your employees in the know only adds to your troubles by reducing productivity caused by false rumors. Keeping your employees in the know might mean additional good ideas about how to survive the tough times.
“90% of all management problems are caused by miscommunication.”
Read more of my posts at Customer Service Experience